Neanderthals Dined on Cooked Crabs, Bucking Primitive Stereotypes

It is previous time to retire the primitive, lumbering cave dweller stereotype of Neanderthals. Archaeologists are serving to the extinct department of humanity get its correct due. A brand new examine printed in Frontiers in Environmental Archaeology this week discovered Neanderthals had a style for roasted seafood.  

Archeologists learning the contents of a collapse Portugal discovered proof of Neanderthals cooking and consuming crabs 90,000 years in the past. The spot is known as Gruta de Figueira Brava, and it is turned up stone instruments, charcoal, shells and bones. The researchers discovered the stays of enormous grownup brown crabs with patterns of harm, breakage and burn marks suggesting the animals have been on the Neanderthal menu.

“They have been taking them in swimming pools of the close by rocky coast, concentrating on grownup animals with a median carapace width of 16 cm. The animals have been introduced complete to the cave, the place they have been roasted on coals after which eaten,” lead writer Mariana Nabais, of the Catalan Institute of Human Paleoecology and Social Evolution in a Frontiers, mentioned in an announcement on Monday. 

Researchers discovered crab carapace and pincer fragments with black burns on the Neanderthal collapse Portugal.

Mariana Nabais/Catherine Dupont/Joao Zilhao

Some researchers have prompt early human ancestors might have developed their huge brains with an help from a food regimen wealthy in aquatic animals. Frontiers mentioned the invention of cooked crabs within the Neanderthal food regimen “disproves the concept that consuming marine meals gave early fashionable people’ brains the aggressive benefit.” 

Neanderthals died out round 40,000 years in the past whereas homo sapiens — fashionable people — developed and thrived. It looks as if an absence of seafood wasn’t what was holding Neanderthals again. Scientists are nonetheless learning why Neanderthals went extinct. Local weather change or illnesses might have had a job.

The crab findings are the most recent proof that Neanderthals have been extra subtle than they’ve generally been portrayed as grunting cave folks. A 2017 examine discovered a Neanderthal neighborhood had cared for a deaf and injured Neanderthal man into his outdated age. A 2020 examine discovered proof of fiber know-how, and a 2021 examine examined an artistically carved bone.

“Our outcomes add an additional nail to the coffin of the out of date notion that Neanderthals have been primitive cave dwellers who may barely scrape a dwelling off scavenged big-game carcasses,” Nabais mentioned.

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